Journal Excerpt: 2006 Snowshoe Ski Trip

March 3, 2007 at 1:01 am 16 comments

In January 2006, I joined my sister and a number of friends for a five day ski trip at Snowshoe Mountain, West Virginia.  By request, here are my journal entries from that trip.  I think they will be of little interest to the people who did not attend.

Lodging Woes 

306 C The Summit
Showshoe Mountain

Greetings from Snowshoe!  Our trip is going well– which is very impressive considering all the obstacles with lodging and [the abscence of viable] cell phone signals.

Our arrivals were stratefied– as everyone had their own plans and differing departure points.  Carolyn came up with a valeuable idea — have us all meet at Foxfire Grille at 3:30 PM.

We weren’t all prompt– but we did all convene at the restaurant eventually (except Christian and Shannon).

I made it there nearly 30 minutes late.  I was certain I would have missed the rendez-vous.  We didn’t know what our address was beforehand– Carolyn only found out at check in.  So it was pretty important to meet up with everyone — so I’d know the lodging details.

As luck would have it, everyone was still at the Foxfire.  And– I wasn’t even the last to arrive!  Greg and Nicole arrived some time after me.

So the seven of us (Tony, Lud, Carolyn, Stacy, myself, Greg and Nicole) all ate an early supper.

Carolyn had already been to the check-in counter and knew we were staying at Unit 15 in Treetop.  But we couldn’t get the keys until after five.  So after supper we (Carolyn, Vicky, Stacy, Greg and Nicole) moseyed over to Top of the World to get the keys.

Well– that was easier said than done.  After a lengthy delay they said the keys were at the bottom of the mountain and on the way up.  

Meanwhile while we were on that mission, Tony and Lud were securing rentals.  The plan was to meet at 15 Treetop.

Back at Top of the World– the employee helping us mentioned a couple (supposedly Shannon and Christian) was looking for us and would be waiting at Foxfire Grille.

So Carolyn, Greg and Nicole decided to wait for the keys (which would supposedly be another 10-20 minutes) and Stacy and I went on an expedition back to Foxfire Grille to look for Shannon and Christian.

Stacy and I waited sometime at Foxfire, just in case Shannon and Christian were taking the slow shuttle.  We finally aborted and went to the Treetop lodging– thinking everyone would have keys and be good to go.

The parking lot was vastly empty.  Stacy and I parked and Tony and Lud came out of Lud’s jeep.  Turns out the keys had not been secured yet!  Tony and Lud had been waiting the entire time.  Stacy and I were the first to show up!  Needlesstosay, Tony and Lud were disappointed Stacy and I were not bearing the key.

Night Skiing 

Lud was anxious to go night skiing– Tony wanted to lay low as his knee was sore and Stacy leaned against night skiing as well.

So– I added some layers and prepared to join Lud on the slopes.  There was only one problem– I didn’t have  my lift ticket yet– it was with Carolyn!  But– Stacy had a lift ticket!

“Stacy– switch coats with me!” I demanded.  He had his lift ticket already attached.

Stacy complied and then a few minutes later I made a poor decision.  I took my shoes off and stood on the parking lot…when it had been raining all day.  I quickly realized my mistake and leapt into the dry safety of the car… only now my shoes were out of reach and I had no dry means to retrieve them.

“Stacy!” I called, “Hand me those shoes!”

Stacy chucked and said, “I always wondered what it’d be like to be Brian.”  🙂

Lud and I headed out and had a good but brief night skiing adventure.

1 + 1 + 1 + 1  Does Not Equal 3

The highlight of the whole evening occurred while Lud and I were waiting in a ski lift line (an unlikely spot for a night’s highlight).  The chair lift was a triple chair lift.  In other words– it holds three people.

Well– FOUR fully grown men (who should have known better) all tried to get on at once.

It was not a successful venture– they were too wide for the chair.  It was a big commotion when the chair reached them.  One guy got reamed in the behind.  Skis fell off and lots of noise was to be heard.  It was hilarious.

More Lodging Woes

Lud and I had some adventures after skiing.  When we returned to the condo– still no familiar cars were in the parking lot.  I walked up and determined the door was locked.  I knocked but I knew there was little hope– the lights were out.

So Lud and I decided to try to track them down.  We checked all sorts of bars in the Village and the Shaver Center.

No luck– bar after bar was filled to the rim– but all with strange faces.

Finally we returned to the townhouse.  Still no cars– so I relieved Lud and told him I could hang out in my car.  He left and I made one more stab at the door.  As I walked up, I was cursing my travel companions.

“A damn note would have been helpful!” I thought.

Lo and Behold- I get up there and there was a note!  In fact– the note had been there all along– I somehow missed it the first go around.

It turned out Carolyn, Greg and Nicole waited for over an hour for those mysterious keys that were at the bottom of the mountain!  And still no keys.  So we got upgraded to a bigger townhouse at the Summit.

All in all– it was a good deal for us– no one had to sleep on the floor (Tony Airaghi opted to sleep outside on the balcony but he had a bed if he wanted it).

Still– it sure brought forth a lot of confusion and that confusion seeped into today as well.

When Lud dropped me off– he and I made plans.

“I’ll just come up here and meet you,” he said, “when I wake up.”

He had no idea we had moved.  So– I left the original note at the townhouse.

This morning time ticked by and still no Lud.  So we left two more notes.  One at the new place, one at the old.  In it– we proposed three time and places to meet up.

I used some price tags from canned goods to stick the notes to the respective doors.  Carolyn have an inventive way to post her note as well.  She ripped out a hole and attached it to the handle of the door.

Anyway– our notes were not appreciated by the intended audience.  Lud never found any of the notes!

“I’m amazed at the total ineffectiveness of notes,” Stacy commented later.

Well– just like St. Matthew writes God will take care of the little birds and like Mao writes Heaven will not delay a traveller, Lud was taken care of.

Early in the afternoon, Carolyn, Shannon and I ran into Lud!! Our group was reunited and Tony knew where his ride was!

Commercial Contradictions

Tonight we are all pooped– so we’ve laid low.  I noticed one pattern– we seem to be laughing a lot at pharmaceutical commericials.

“There are ones,” Christian said, “Where the side effects contradict each other.  It’ll say may cause insomnia and it’ll say right after that– drowsiness!”

I told them about Sean’s antibiotics for his surgery.  One said as a side effect your urine may turn dark– but it was normal behavior.

The other one said, “Call your doctor *immediately* if you experience darkening of urine!”

Luckily Sean was not put in the predictament to determine which medicine was causing dark urine– the harmless one or the troublesome one!

Best Conditions 


Skiing went well.  I skied a little bit each day I was there.  The funnest day was Monday and it seemed like it would be the most miserable day.  It was rainy & foggy.  We were determined to get out on the slopes, however.  It turned out to have the best conditions of all the days!  The rain kept the top level of snow soft so it was easy to steer and stop.  And– more importantly, the rain detered the other skiers from coming out so the slopes were pretty abandoned.  No lines, no dodging fallen snowboarders and no ice.  It made for a very peaceful day on the mountain.

We also went night skiing that night– I had to meet the others as I had some contract work to do at Starbuck’s.  After my work– I drove to the Silver Creek area and walked out to the slopes.  As I skiied down to the lift from the lodge, I was literally the only person on the trail.  With the darkness all around me (except for the lit snow on the trail) and the silence (except for the whish of my skis in the snow), it was an invigorating, uplifting run.

It didn’t take long to reunite with my friends– on my second run– I eyed the passengers on the ski lift and soon enough, I spied familiar outfits!

Time Flies

Time really flew fast on our trip.  On Saturday and Sunday I was full of plans.

“Maybe I’ll take a snowboarding lesson,” I thought.


“Hey I think I’ll do cross country skiing one day.”

Over the weekend, it seemed I had all the time in the world.  But before I knew it, it was our last day and I had not fit in a snowboard lesson nor tried out cross country skiing.  Perhaps another trip.

I still have vivid recollections of riding a ski lift at Greek Peak on a Tuesday and thinking I had a lot of days left on the mountain.  My childhood experience was very similiar to the one this past week– before you know it– it is time to return home and resume your daily duties.

Worst Conditions 

Tuesday’s conditions were fairly rough– a lot of ice.  Then Wednesday I found the most miserable (still fun though).  Overnight we got a great deal of natural snow– plus they ran the snow machines overnight and throughout the day.  To top it off, it was dreadfully windy– it seemed no matter which way I faced, snow was pelting my face.

I took a lot of pride throughout the week of carrying my skis.  I was proud of the extra exercise I got by doing that.  Well Tuesday night my resolve weakened and I locked my skis up with Carolyn and Christian right by the slopes.  Tuesday night, of course, was the night the big storm rolled in.  So Carolyn, Christian and I learned a very important lesson:

Do Not Lock Your Skis Up Right Next to a Snow Making Machine

When we returned on Wednesday, we discovered that snow and ice were packed into the keyholes of the ski holders.  It took us *at least* a half an hour to drive our respective keys in the hole and turn them clockwise 90 degrees.  It was an amazing struggle.

Our victory was short lived, though.  Carolyn’s ski bindings were frozen shut!  Christian, Carolyn and I struggled in the wake of a running snow machine to get her skis on.  Not only were her bindings inflicted with ice– but her boots had about 3/4″ of ice caked on her heel.  We must have combatted that challenge another half an hour.  Finally, Carolyn and I went inside and manually worked the bindings to loosen them up.  At long last, her skis would click on her boots.

We went back out, Carolyn snapped her boots on.  Sweet success and THEN


I had similiar issues with caked on ice.  I was able to resolve it, but in order to do so, I had to bend over.  My 5 layers of shirts slid up and exposed my midriff skin.    I also had to take my gloves off to have the necessary dexterity to get everything on.

By the time we were all set to go– we were already cold and miserable.  I couldn’t feel my pinky finger!

Still our struggles weren’t over.  Due to the wind and the diligent snow making– there was a lot of very, very thick powder at the top, flat part of the mountain.  It was very difficult to get moving and with all the snow machines, our slow, struggled stride had repercussions.

Powder Power

Luckily after that first laboured run, everything picked up.  Snow machines weren’t running lower on the mountain and once we got on steeper runs it was great fun and the thick powder was an asset.

“It’s like skiing on clouds,” Christian said.

“Even if you fall,” he said, “You’re falling in a puff of powder!”

I originally found it very unnerving to be in snow so deep that I couldn’t see my skis, but after Christian’s recommendation– I gave it a try.  Sure enough– it is quite fun!

One thing that was impressive is how much difference slope conditions can affect a run and how quickly those conditions can change.

On Tuesday– runs that were okay in the morning were downright treacherous in the afternoon.

For example, in the morning, Carolyn and I rode a lift over “The Widowmaker.”  It didn’t look too bad and we considered going down it.

“We’ll be okay,” I told Carolyn, “It’s called ‘The Widowmaker’ not ‘The Widowermaker.'” She laughed.

In the end– we decided to play it safe and didn’t go on it.  In the afternoon, we rode up a lift over it again with Christian.  It was riddled with ice patches.

“This morning we could at least consider it,” Carolyn said, “Now you look at it and think, ‘No fucking way!'”

The next day it was brand new powder– it looked great!  So Christian and I went down it.

Meanwhile, Carolyn discovered another slope was greatly improved by the fresh snow.  That slope was called J-Hook.

The day before Carolyn and I skied down it.  It started out nice enough and then all of a sudden:


They were huge round ice boulders all over the trail.  It wasn’t just a few here and there– they were prevalent.  It was one of the most unpleasant runs.

Fast forward a day.  I asked Carolyn how J-Hook was.

“Peaceful and powdery,” she said.

Sure enough, it was.

This was my very first ski trip without rented equipment.  Melanie had sold me her skis.  That saved me a lot of trouble and time– I will have to write her and let her know.

We ate really well.  Sunday we had vegetable chili.  Monday– Chicken caccitore.  Tuesday– pot pies.  Mmm!

Entry filed under: Carolyn L, Christian D, Greg Z, Lud Eng, Nicole Zumbrook, Shannon Katz Diaz, skiing, snow, Stacy McMahon, Tony Airaghi.

Priorities… Caesar Salads and Other Cheese Discoveries

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Clint  |  March 3, 2007 at 10:43 am

    Thank you for not going on the Widowmaker, Carolyn.

  • 2. Carolyn  |  March 4, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    You’re welcome, Clint. 🙂

    Thanks for posting this, Vicky!!! It sure did fill in a lot of holes that I had forgotten about. And I had completely forgotten about the frozen ski locks! Now I remember as if it was yesterday 🙂

  • 3. Heather  |  February 11, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    I’m not quite sure if I’m commenting on Nicole’s page or the random page I found when I was looking up the Pink hospital of Hawaii. But I was curious to know who Nicole Z. was because I have the same last name. I’m guessing it’s from my ‘Dad’s side of the family, but I’m always curious. Anyway, If you or Nicole reads this, please email me (I’m guessing you have it since I had to fill in the email thing. Thanks. Bye

  • 4. Clint  |  February 12, 2008 at 1:17 am

    Sheesh Heather, at least close your parenthesis…. and… why is she asking for “Nicole Z” when you’ve already used the full last name here anyway? So confused by these random people. )))))))))))))

  • 5. gaugeyagee  |  February 12, 2008 at 7:36 am

    @Vicky: Wait a minute, I think I know this Heather! Could you email me her email address? I think that’s my cousin.

    @Heather: Hey how’s it going?! Nicole is my wife. I’m Greg, your cousin, the *REAL* Zumbrook here. 🙂

    @Clint: Go easy dude. Not everybody frequents blogs or majored in CS, haha.

  • 6. Clint  |  February 12, 2008 at 9:14 am

    @Greg: I just don’t see where “Nicole Z” is on this page. Not really a matter of having a CS degree — how does someone only read “Z” when it says “Zumbrook”? 🙂

  • 7. Clint  |  February 12, 2008 at 9:15 am

    That’s still a pretty neat coincidence though!

  • 8. Chriggy  |  February 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm


    Just because a full name is contained once in a tag, doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be repeated in comments. Not sure how exactly search algorithms work, But I’m sure multiple instances of a name on a page would push that higher in search results for that name. Which is not something everyone neccessarily wants.

  • 9. Clint  |  February 12, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    You really think it is at all realistic that this Heather person seems like someone who even knows what google page rank IS, and how it works? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHA AHA HA HA AH AH AH AH AH AH A HA

    Because you don’t know how it works either, hehehehhe…

    And is it not plainly obvious that if it worked that way, I could just post “Britney Spears” 5,000 times on my page, and then be the top Britney Spears result? Google is smarter than to use pagerank algorithms that any idiot could defeat…

    Honestly I think the most likely explanation is that she was too lazy to type the last name, or that she thought by typing it, it would eliminate some privacy. My point is, the last name is already in the sidebar, so any privacy was eliminated awhile ago — these pages will come up in google for years, even if the last name is redacted — so it was pointless not to type it in that situation.

    Laziness is a good excuse not to bother typing it, though.

  • 10. Clint  |  February 12, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    and it’s really not a big deal. I was mostly irked at the non-closed parenthesis…. ))))))))

  • 11. Chriggy  |  February 12, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    I clearly mentioned that I don’t know how they work. Nor do I feel like researching it.

    But why are you talking crap about people you don’t know about a comment that in no way affects you?

  • 12. Clint  |  February 12, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    For the 3rd time, I have a problem with her not closing her parenthesis.

    The rest was an afterthought.

    Had she closed her parenthesis, the 2nd part of my comment would have just been a thought to myself. (“Was she too lazy to type the rest of the name? If she’s asking a specific question, why is she being vague?”) And the 1st part of my comment would have been non-applicable. That is, had she closed the parenthesis, no comment would have been left.

    And furthermore, I don’t think I was being mean to her either. If she’s not even sure if she’s on the right page, she’s clearly not to the level of savvy as to subscribe to Vicky’s rss comment feed (or even know what RSS is), so she wont even see the response. Which was in my mind when I left it.

    And I can rephrase your question as well: “Why are you defending people you don’t know about a comment that in no way affects you … that they shall never read anyway?”


  • 13. Chriggy  |  February 12, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    To answer your question, it does affect me because I would hope that I would be allowed to post a legitimate comment to someones blog, without having people call out little grammar mistakes, or question the fact of whether I used someones last name.

    Sometimes I just get irritated by the grammar police in general. 🙂
    (not necessarily you.

  • 14. Clint  |  February 12, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    If you don’t want people to question what you say, you might be best saying nothing then, because anything and everything that anybody posts often get scrutinized in unexpected ways.

  • 15. Chriggy  |  February 12, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    “often get”? 😛

    I kid, I kid!

  • 16. Heather  |  August 31, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Hey…my bad for not closing the parenthesis! Lol. I was way too tired when I was searching for any trace of my dads side of the family. I don’t think grammar was the most of my worries.

    And as for the Z instead of Zumbrook, I was still nervous about the entire situation and I always feel weird about giving full names online. Especially on a random blog. I didn’t even think this blog was really even active!

    But anyway, I’m pretty intrigued that my message created such a controversy over parenthesis and last names.

    And I know diddley squat about Google web page ranking. My guess is that it’s more of either the most visited website…or the most accurate website thats affiliated with the subject. Anyway!!! I found what I was looking for! My awesome cousin.So chyeah buggers!


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